The Quirks of Smallness -
Joe Pinsker on a unique strategy employed by Herb Hyman, the owner of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf:
He determined his shops’ proximity to Starbucks to be such a boon that he began opening locations close to established Starbucks—a sly reversal of the national chain’s strategy. “We bought a Chinese restaurant right next to one of their stores and converted it, and by God, it was doing $1 million a year right away,” Hyman is quoted as saying in Starbucked.
Rather than run and hide from the big guy, or be terrified of his arrival into town, Coffee Bean started doing the opposite. And they thrived — undoubtedly because it helps to be next to Goliath when you’re trying to get people to pull for David.
(Also interesting data on small boards versus big boards — which makes total sense.)
Roger Federer is one of the best.
The most interesting thing about Instagram’s new app, Hyperlapse, isn’t that it’s a stand-alone app, it’s that it’s only a lens.
A lot has been made in recent months of companies “unbundling” their apps to create simpler, more streamlined experiences for users. The jury is still very much out on this strategy actually working. But again, I don’t view the Instagram move with Hyperlapse as the same thing exactly.
The thing is, on the surface, there isn’t much to Hyperlapse itself. It’s a video camera which allows you to speed up the playback after shooting (there’s obviously a lot more going on behind the scenes to make this work and seem as simple as it does). You can then share those videos to either Facebook or Instagram (not Twitter, naturally and stupidly), but there is no Hyperlapse social element beyond this share functionality. The real social component of Hyperlapse stays on the existing Facebook social backbone (since Facebook also owns Instagram, of course). And even the editing beyond the playback speed occurs on Instagram still.
So in this regard, Hyperlapse is “only” a layer on top of those existing services. It’s sort of like a new lens you might attach to your camera – albeit a tricked-out lens that can speed up time!
I think this secondary app strategy is a much more clever one than the typical “unbundling” one. Just look at the App Store top lists now; there are dozens of apps for altering the output of existing popular apps – Vine, Snapchat, and yes, Instagram, amongst others. Why wouldn’t the app-maker want to play in this space as well? The end result is just making their core app more popular. And they get to remain in control of the user experience.
Not a stand-alone app, a stand-along app.
As an aside, in my mind, the oddest thing about Hyperlapse is that it does something that not even its parent does: work natively on the iPad.
(Written on my iPhone)
Star Wars: Episode VII by Sahin Düzgün
This would be a pretty amazing poster. (Complete with J.J. lens-flare.)
The only way to break out is to gamble — take a chance with that first pick, if you wanna dramatically improve your team. That’s why I wanted Manziel but I was the only guy who wanted him. I listened to everybody. And I’m… not… happy… — Dallas Cowboys owner (and GM) Jerry Jones, talking to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, about his grief over not drafting Johnny Manziel.
NFC Hell Freezing Over? -
The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.
After 6 years of false positives, it appears that NFC may actually stand for more than “No Fucking Chance” with the iPhone 6. We’ll know soon enough!
Watch this space.
I find myself on vacation. For me, that means getting away to a nice (usually new) place where I can read in peace. (And completely fail on my stated pledge not to check email – but that’s another story.) It also gives me time to think, which I find I rarely have these days. Naturally, my mind drifts to writing.
I started the year hoping to write more – 500 words a day, in fact. That lasted barely a month. It simply was becoming too much of a chore at the end of each day. I soon switched to writing thoughts on Medium, hoping its beautiful writing interface would spur me on. It has, a bit. But still not as much as I would like.
Thinking about this today, I realize that I have a pretty strong aversion to using my computer these days. It’s a cumbersome device I only associate with work. More importantly, I increasingly find myself only carrying around my iPhone and perhaps my iPad. And I’ve been writing a lot on my iPad (with the Logitech keyboard attached), but I still usually publish when I get back to a computer (on Medium, for example, you can still only publish from a desktop browser). There are too many steps involved.
So I’m going to try to force myself to write more on the go, when I’m nowhere near my MacBook. Like this post, which I’m typing on my iPhone (using Byword). With years of practice now, I’m actually quite good at typing on my phone (and even my iPad without the Logitech keyboard). So I’m not sure why I haven’t been doing it more. Other than the fact that old habits die hard.
This may also force me to keep things shorter than usual. Which I view as a good thing.
(Written on my iPhone)
(Source: makelvenotwar, via slimblackjeans)
Diamonds are Forever
They sure don’t make movie posters like they used to.
35,000 Fire Phones... -
Charles Arthur on the likely initial usage of Amazon’s Fire:
Therefore even allowing for margins of error, it seems unlikely - based on Chitika’s data and the ComScore data - that there were more than about 35,000 Fire Phones in use after those 20 days.
If that’s even remotely the case, the Fire Phone is a disaster right now for Amazon. This is a product they’re promoting on their homepage. You should be able to sell at least hundreds of thousands of anything on that page.
I’ll go ahead and renew my call for a VP of Devil’s Advocacy.
How Norway has avoided the 'curse of oil' -
For while other countries have struck oil and then binged on the revenues, by contrast Norway is continuing to invest its oil and gas money in a giant sovereign wealth fund.
The fund, worth about $800bn (£483bn), owns 1% of the entire world’s stocks, and is big enough to make every citizen a millionaire in the country’s currency, the kroner. In effect, it is a giant savings account.
1% of all the stocks in the world. Crazy (smart).
We’ll see how this plays out in the long run, but it strikes me as smart for any “boom” town to diversify as much as possible when they can — before they can’t, and they’re screwed.
The sick thing is that these companies are selling to those who are less fortunate. I really think that manufacturing a product that you know is killing people should be against the law and that you should prosecute those who do it. It’s murder like anything else. — Michael Bloomberg, talking to The New York Times about his crusade against the cigarette industry.
We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone. It wasn’t profitable for us. We were losing money for two years on those phones. So for now we’ve decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold. — Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group, in an interview with WSJ. Worth noting that his comments on Windows Phone are still slightly better than those about Tizen, which has says has “no chance to be successful.”